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Greene becomes Georgia's winningest QB in rout of Vanderbilt
Oct. 16, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports
ATHENS, Ga. -- Except for one series, David Greene played about as well as he can for Georgia.
It helps to have a pair of 100-yard runners in the backfield -- and Vanderbilt on the opposite side of the line.
Greene passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, leading the 12th-ranked Bulldogs to a 33-3 rout of lowly Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Greene found plenty of room to pass when the Commodores began crowding the line, trying without much success to stop Georgia's freshmen running backs.
Danny Ware rushed for 127 yards and Thomas Brown had 122, including a touchdown. They were the first pair of Bulldog runners to go over 100 yards in the same game since Garrison Hearst and Mack Strong in 1992.
"That's big," Ware said. "We want to do that every game."
The Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) bounced back from their first loss of the season, a 19-14 setback to Tennessee.
Greene became just the fifth player in SEC history to pass for 10,000 yards in his career. He also picked up his 37th victory, breaking a tie with College Football Hall of Famer Johnny Rauch as the winningest quarterback in Georgia history.
"Wins are the thing," said Greene, just two wins away from Peyton Manning's NCAA record. "For a quarterback, that's what you're always going to be judged by. Wins mean more to me than anything else."
The left-hander has struggled much of the season, coming into the game as only the ninth-rated quarterback in the SEC. But Greene had the right opponent to pad his numbers.
Vanderbilt (1-5, 1-3) is only one defeat from its 22nd straight losing season. Georgia piled up a season-high 527 yards, holding the Commodores to just 187.
Greene played seven possessions in the game, leading the Bulldogs to four touchdowns and a field goal, while another drive reached Vandy territory before stalling.
The only time Greene looked out of sync was when he threw three straight incompletions late in the second quarter.
"I felt like I played great except for one drive," he said.
Greene completed 14 of 21 for 191 yards, including a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter that put the game out of reach.
Georgia scored on its first two possessions and led 16-3 at halftime. The Bulldogs followed the same script in the second half.
Greene finished off an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a 22-yard pass to Leonard Pope, the first touchdown of the sophomore's career and a 23-3 lead.
On Georgia's next possession, Greene faced fourth-and-2 at the Vandy 38. He faked a handoff and lofted a perfect pass to Reggie Brown, who beat cornerback Bill Alford in the left corner of the end zone.
The Commodores had lost their previous three games by three points each, squandering second-half leads every time. They were never close in this one.
Serving the role of homecoming fodder, Vanderbilt lost to Georgia for the 10th straight year.
"Obviously, we had a hard time matching up with them," Commodores coach Bobby Johnson said. "Georgia is very good on defense. They made it very hard to run the ball."
The Bulldogs made quick work of this one. Vandy went three-and-out on its first possession, and Georgia drove 56 yards with hardly any resistance. Thomas Brown scored on a 12-yard run and went on to the first 100-yard game of his young career.
Another three-and-out by the Commodores, followed by a short punt, gave Georgia the ball at its own 45. Ware ran 22 yards to convert one third down, then Greene took matters into his own hands on third-and-goal at the 2.
Checking into a different play when he spotted an opening up the middle, Greene took the shotgun snap and ran for the touchdown.
"Obviously, they didn't think I was going to run the football," Greene said. "When I saw what coverage they were in, I switched to the quarterback draw. I was really untouched."
Georgia's offense finally stumbled when Ware fumbled and the Commodores recovered at their own 3. Not to worry. On the very next play, Vanderbilt went with a curious call -- a run out of the shotgun -- and Jeff Jennings was wrapped up in the end zone by Danny Verdun Wheeler for a safety, pushing the Bulldogs' lead to 16-0.
Vanderbilt avoided a shutout when Patrick Johnson kicked a 42-yard field goal with about four minutes left in the half. But Johnson also missed from 42 and 35 yards.
Andy Bailey kicked a late 40-yard field goal for the final margin.
A couple of troubling signs for the Bulldogs: 13 penalties for 130 yards and four fumbles, though they lost only one.
Georgia will play its next four games away from home -- its longest stretch on the road since 1965. They'll head off with their confidence restored.
"Tennessee was a very tough loss for us," safety Thomas Davis said. "But we weren't going to sit there and dwell on it. ... We came back and did a great job."
The Associated Press News Service
Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
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